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Friday 17 July 2015

Berber & Q - Grain Store Unleashed - The Shed - Baja California at Wahaca - Bull in a China Shop - Wine & Music at Terroirs

Time for a super speedy round-up of some delicious things I've eaten (or imbibed) but haven't managed to mention over the last two months


1. Cauliflower Shawarma & All The Meat at Berber & Q in Haggerston

After falling in love with entire grilled cauliflowers at Miznon in Paris, I was delighted to see it on a menu again so soon.  Berber & Qs version with tahini and rose is a fine example of the genre.  Be sure to get a load of Middle Eastern BBQ meat too - some Joojeh chicken thighs, smoked short-rib with date syrup glaze, smoked pork belly with pomegranate molasses BBQ sauce; that kind of thing.

Wash it down with a bespoke Crate brewery golden ale with za'atar, sumac, thyme and orange, or one of their fine cocktails.  Sumac Habit with mezcal, chilli-infused aperol, dried lime and sumac is a good place to start.

I'll be back soon for weekend brunch - Turkish eggs with paprika butter, a Full Israeli, Tunisian shakshuka with red pepper jam and smoked beans with burnt-ends & merguez. 11am-3pm. Yes please.

Cauliflower Shawarma - photo from Berber & Q

Cauliflower Shawarma, Tahini, Rose

Cauliflower Shawarma, Tahini, Rose

Blackened Aubergine Salad, Tomato Seed, Garlic Yoghurt

Berber & Q

Berber & Q

Sumac Habit - Mezcal, Chilli-Infused Aperol, Dried Lime, Sumac

Half pints of house beer brewed by Crate - also available in 1.7 litre growlers

Berber & Q -

Arch 338, Acton Mews, Haggerston, London, E8 4EA

2. Funky vegetables and rhubarb negronis at Grain Store Unleashed at The Zetter Hotel

You haven't got long to get over to Bruno Loubet's adventurous vegetable-fest at The Zetter Hotel - it's due to close on July 31st though I'm sure something else equally exciting will take it's place. Plus you've got the original Grain Store in King's Cross to keep you company, a new Grain Store Café & Bar coming soon to Gatwick, and Zetter Townhouse Marylebone arriving on 14th August. 

But you should still rush over to Clerkenwell before the end of the month to get your hands on Bruno's corn brioche with avocado butter and all manner of other delights (see below).  In the evening, it's tasting menus only. 8 courses for £39? Don't mind if I do. It's right up there with The Dairy & co. for affordable, high-end, innovative dining.  Speaking of which, Robin Gill's Paradise Garage is opening up in Bethnal Green any day now.

Bruno Loubet's Grain Store Unleashed is at The Zetter Hotel until July 31st

Ginger Bread Iced Coffee

Rhubarb Negroni

Pickled Flowers & Rhubarb, Green Apple Purée, Bergamot Emulsion, Wild Sea Trout

Pickled Flowers & Rhubarb, Green Apple Purée, Bergamot Emulsion, Wild Sea Trout

Wild Trout Ceviche wrapped in Lettuce with Basil Oil & Avocado Sorbet

The remains of a colourful ceviche

Red Vegetables, Spiced Bread Sauce, Salted Lemon & Orange Purée, Wood Pigeon, Chilli Chocolate

Lemon & Strawberries Petit Pot, Rosemary Crumble

Chocolate Pie, Caramel & Miso Ice Cream

Parsnips & White Chocolate Cream, Matcha Tea, Pink Grapefruit & Passionfruit Gel, Caramelised Puffed Oat

Grain Store Unleashed -

St John's Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ

3. The Entire Menu at The Shed in Notting Hill .... again

Well, almost.  They are only small plates though, right? The Gladwin Bros. delivered yet again, from farm to plate to face. We powered through this lovely lot below (some of them twice) before finishing off with an entire bottle of Somerset Cider Brandy Kingston Black aperitif. I didn't get much done after that. I've highlighted my Top 3:

- ruby gem, red leicester, pistachio, radish, dill, leek bubbles 8.0
- pan fried goat’s cheese, hazelnuts, honey, thyme 6.5
- nutbourne heritage tomatoes, shed yoghurt, sumac, basil, red onion 8.5
- raw scallop, black summer truffle, garlic, kohlrabi 12.0
- wood pigeon, cauliflower, malt, pickled sultanas 9.0
- nutbourne grilled lamb, jersey royal gnocchi, peas, mint, dill 12.0
- the summer sparks magnum vienetta parfait 7.0
- honeycomb crunchy, chocolate, mascarpone, tarragon sugar 6.0
- chocolate, hazelnut butter, cherry pastille 6.0
- set cream, strawberries, tomatoes, meringue 6.0

Pan fried goat’s cheese, hazelnuts, honey, thyme

Ruby gem, red leicester, pistachio, radish, dill, leek bubbles

Raw scallop, black summer truffle, garlic, kohlrabi

Wood pigeon, cauliflower, malt, pickled sultanas

Nutbourne grilled lamb, jersey royal gnocchi, peas, mint, dill

Set cream, strawberries, tomatoes, meringue

Honeycomb crunchy, chocolate, mascarpone, tarragon sugar

122 Palace Gardens Terrace, London, W8 4RT

4. Spinach Chlorophyll & Venison in Embers at Wahaca's Baja California supper club

Throughout 2015 Wahaca are inviting the most exciting and influential chefs from across Mexico to cook with Tommi Miers in the Covent Garden kitchen. I went along to a supper club run by Diego Hernandez (Head Chef of Corazon de Tierra, Ensenada) who came over to Wahaca for one-night only.

The event marked the start of an 8 week regional Baji California Menu that will feature the likes of Octopus Tostada with Peanut Chilli Oil and Clam, Mussels and Prawn Arroz Rojo. It should run til at least August 7th.

These dishes were the highlights (yes, including the last one):

- Tamal Colada (steamed corn parcel) with Wood Pigeon, Mole Amarillito, Rocket, Sour Cream and Dehydrated Parsnip

- Venison in Embers with Caldillo de Carne, Aubergine Puree, and Jersey Royal New Potatoes in Vegetable Infused Stock

- Truffled Cream with Spinach Chlorophyll, Radish, Caramel Panna Cotta and Balsamic - a classic from the Corazon de Tierra dessert list

Tommi's next visitor will be Enrique Olvera from Pujol which was recently named as the 16th best restaurant in the world.

One-off menu from Diego Hernandez at Wahaca

Pre-drinks in the Wahaca Covent Garden bar

Tamal Colada (steamed corn parcel) with Wood Pigeon, Mole Amarillito, Rocket, Sour Cream and Dehydrated Parsnip
- Photo from Wahaca website -

Venison in Embers with Caldillo de Carne, Aubergine Puree, and Jersey Royal New Potatoes in Vegetable Infused Stock
- Photo from Wahaca website -

Baja California regional menu at Wahaca -

66 Chandos Place, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HG

5. Cocktails & Japanese Whisky at Bull in a China Shop in Shoreditch

We dropped in to Bull in a China Shop soon after it had opened, and the food menu has changed a fair amount since our visit, but I can vouch for the booze (and the atmospheric lighting). 

They've got a great selection of Japanese whiskies and an appealing cocktail list to match. Go for a Wabi / Sabi with Hakushu Single Malt Distiller's Reserve, Cocchi di Torino, Matcha green tea syrup, Black walnut bitters, or a Chamomile & Charcoal Old Fashioned with Nikka Yoichi, home made chamomile syrup, bitters, coconut, and charcoal, finished with an orange twist.  Or treat yourself to a £55 25ml dram of Karuizawa 1981 (bottled in 2014).

You can't far wrong with the rotisserie chicken (brined with ginger, and marinated overnight in Asian yoghurt with a Nikka whisky glaze), or the Cinnamon bread & butter pudding with chamomile spiced rum custard. The Panko crusted chicken burger with pickled ginger, Japanese mayonnaise, and mango & lime chutney is also worth a look. Skip the salads.

Bull in a China Shop -

196 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6LG

6. Snails, wine & vinyl at Terroirs Wine Bar in the West End

Ben Adamo & Darren Smith from Wine and Vinyl have teamed up with Terroirs wine bar & restaurant in Charing Cross to put on "Wine and Music" evenings on the first Wednesday of every month in the cosy cellar space (£3 entry).

N.B. The next #WineWednesday will be in September

To kick off the series, on the hottest day of the year, Ben & Darren put together a set list drawing from the sound tracks of cult movies such as Pulp Fiction and Full Metal Jacket, whilst classic wine moments from film history were projected on to the walls.

A condensed version of Terroirs’ 200 bin wine list has been carefully compiled for the event, showcasing five whites and five reds by the bottle as well as ten wines by the glass and a couple of bottles of sparkling.  It's a quirky list with a real range of styles on offer - Amphibolite Nature, Jo Landon was ideal for the 36° heat, as was the Magnum of Casa Coste Piane Prosecco, whilst the Pinot Blanc, Gerrard Shueller is a must for sour beer fans.

Head Chef, Dale Osbourne, has put together a seasonally-focused tapas menu, comprising a selection of Terroirs’ signature dishes. I was really impressed with all of our plates, but particularly the Jamón de Bellota, Salt Croquetas & Aioli, Snails on Toast with Garlic, Parsley & Bacon and the unusual Black Pudding & Beets.

It's a great date spot, especially on Wine & Music Wednesdays - check @Terroirs on Twitter for #WineWednesdays updates.

Wine & Vinyl -

5 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DW



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